See ya tow-morrow! Navy Yard leaders want to get rid of NYPD tow pound

See ya tow-morrow! Navy Yard leaders want to get rid of NYPD tow pound

They’re looking to shed a tow pound!

Leaders at the Brooklyn Navy Yard hoping to continue its transformation from a 300-acre shipyard into a vibrant commercial hub now say they want to rid it of one of its most hated eyesores — the NYPD’s Navy Street tow pound.

“We anticipate that the NYPD tow pound would either be relocated or we’d build over it,” said spokesman James Yolles. “The NYPD is aware of our long-term master plan and we look forward to further discussions with the department over the coming years.”

In the pound’s place, Yard bigwigs want to construct two buildings at opposite ends of a public plaza, with ground floor space in the larger of the buildings potentially becoming home to a science and engineering museum, and the other featuring classrooms, development space, and youth programs.

It’s all part of a 30-year plan to make the walled-off campus more neighborly, according to bigwigs who showed off renderings last Thursday while pointing out a new open-door policy.

“We’ve highlighted ways to better integrate the Yard with our neighbors, including through new waterfront open space, more welcoming entrances, and increased transportation options to the Yard,” said David Ehrenberg, the president and executive officer of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, a quasi-governmental agency that facilitates construction projects on the site. “With 300 acres on the Brooklyn waterfront, there’s no excuse for us not to dream big — and inspire other cities to do the same.”

Replacing the yard’s tow pound could be a long way off, but five other developments inside the space along the East River are in the works, including the Green Manufacturing Center, Building 77, Dock 72, Admiral’s Row, and Steiner Studios — and are all slated to be completed by 2019.

Officials say those developments will help create 30,000 jobs over the next few years and add 5.1 million square feet of manufacturing space.

Looking further into the future, officials also want to erect two new buildings on a vacant lot on Kent Avenue, which would rise on a new waterfront esplanade along a current man-made inlet called the Barge Basin Loop. And on Flushing Avenue, Navy Yard leaders plan to build another two structures for food manufacturing, and a pedestrian walkway from Flushing Avenue to the stop on the citywide ferry service expected to open next year.

But before breaking ground on the tow pound, Navy Yard honchos are asking the city to sign off on a rezoning request to nix some of the parking and loading dock requirements in order to make way for a science and engineering museum, classrooms dedicated to science, math, and technology programs for youngsters, and a potential daycare center on the ground floor of one of the two Navy Street buildings, according to Yolles, who said the rezoning would not allow for any additional height or density.

“We are requesting a special-use district that will reduce outdated parking and loading dock requirements and allow for education use,” he said. “The latter will allow the Yard to operate its forthcoming STEAM Center, along with a potential daycare center.”

Ironically, their is an easy way to get inside its gates right now: get your car towed. And thanks to the city’s proficent system of taking away illegally parked cars, the number of visitors to the yard has actually gone up over the last few years. In 2017, 25,727 four-wheelers were towed to the Yard, up from 21,227 the year before, and 19,515 in 2015, according to data from the Police Department, which said it’s aware of the Navy Yard’s 30-year vision to shutter the yard but has no plans to relocate.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.

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